Sake – A Celiac’s Alternative


I’m not a huge drinker, but when I indulge, I like to “git ‘er done”.

I prefer whisky (or whiskey, if you will) but will also go for vodka for tequila. Occasionally, I’ll opt for some sake.

While sake is not normally my preference, I do happen to know quite a bit about it. Call it a hazard of moonlighting as a bartender at a sushi restaurant.

Now, we can argue the particulars of spirits and how the distillation process physically separates the alcohol from the gluten, but the fact remains that many of those a with gluten sensitivity prefer to avoid anything made from wheat, rye, or barley.

Enter sake.

One interesting aspect of sake is that most of the ones that are widely available in the United States can inherently be labeled gluten free.

This is due to how sake is defined.

Unless you’re looking for a history lesson, believe me when I say that a sake with the designation of ‘junmai’ can only contain rice, water, yeast, and koji (the mold that is used to break the rice down into fermentable sugars — think of the malting process in beer brewing).

Unless I’m mistaken, none of the ingredients in a junmai sake are harmful to those with Celiac Disease or a sensitivity to gluten.

So, feel free to drink up!

Of course there are always other options, like wine or gluten free beer (bleh), but consider asking your bartender or server for a junmai sake if you’re feeling adventurous — hot or cold, it’s up to you!


Posted in Sake, Sushi, Wellness | Leave a comment

Yosuke Sushi

I admit it. I’m a sushi snob.

Not in the trendy sense. I absolutely abhor the term ‘fusion’ when used to refer to food – especially my sushi. I prefer simple, traditional fare.

The irony is that I moonlight as a bartender and sushi chef at a restaurant that markets itself as ‘non-traditional’.

Tonight, my girlfriend, Courtney, and I went to a sushi bar in Anaheim that can only be described as traditional.

We discovered it last September, while visiting some friends in Los Angeles by Googling “best sushi in Anaheim” as we drove to our hotel from John Wayne Airport.

I did not expect much. It’s tucked away in a strip mall in a fairly suburban area off California SR-91. I have learned from past experience to expect little from strip mall sushi.

Upon walking in, however, I realized this place was different.

Most of the staff was Japanese. I mean Japanese. From Japan.

While this hardly guarantees quality, I find that regardless of the type of service, cultural natives lend more credibility to an establishment.

The difficulty for most people usually lies in determining national origin without asking. Luckily for my girlfriend (who appreciates simplicity as much as I do), I am fourth generation Japanese – and speak a little Japanese to boot.

With each subsequent order, my dining delight compounded.

In two trips to California, we have dined here four times.

At dinner tonight, we sat at the sushi bar. I don’t know that we’ll ever sit at a table here again.

Not only was the sushi exceptional (as we have come to expect), but the chefs were so engaging, that Courtney was absolutely giddy.

Thus far, it’s my favorite sushi spot in the greater Los Angeles area. If you’re in the area, give it a try. Sit at the sushi bar and buy the chefs a beer – Asahi seems to be their beer of choice. You’ll thank me.

Yosuke Sushi
136 Fairmont Blvd
Anaheim, CA
(714) 921-4002

Posted in Sake, Sushi | Tagged , | Leave a comment

What’s In a Name?

Growing up, I hated my name. Hated it.

I couldn’t understand why anyone’s parents would give a child such a (seemingly) cumbersome name. I longed for the simplicity of John. Or Chris; Josh; Justin. Something normal.

Other Person: What’s your name?
Me: Blaise.
Other Person: Dave?
Me: Blaise.
Other Person: Gabe??
Other Person: Blaise?
Me: (Sighing) Yep.

That’s an example of a typical conversation I would have when meeting someone new — with some variation in names (Wade, Blake, Ray…take your pick).

I went through a significant portion of my life with this burden, to the extent that I would avoid introducing myself to new people.

Until I discovered it. The solution.

Other Person: What’s your name?
Me: Blaise. Like fire.
Other Person: That’s a cool name.

Quick. Simple. Problem solved.

Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged | 1 Comment